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This is a photo of the Elmira Cornet Band, Thirty-third Regiment of the New York State Volunteers taken in July 1861, sourced to the amazing collection of photos at the Library of Congress.

 photo Elmira Cornet Band Thirty-third Regiment of the New York State Volunteers July 1861.jpg

Bands were important to the morale of soldiers serving in the Civil War. Militia bands were very highly valued by the local militias as they participated in musters, ceremonies and parades and were useful in recruiting soldiers. As state and local militias were mustered into service they naturally brought along their bands. Within a few months of the start of the war, Congress authorized the creation of Regimental bands for the Regular Army.

The Confederacy also had military bands of its own. My great great grandfather, James Henry Balding, served as a musician in the 15th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Josey's). On 6 Aug 1862, by order of Brig General Cleburne, he was detailed to Polk's Brigade Band. I've not been able to find out what musical instrument(s) he played, and our family lore hasn't included any stories about his service in the war. Most of the time, musicians were noncombatants.


This is a Sepia Saturday post. Head over there for more interesting vintage images and postcards.
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Dee Burris Blakley

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